Thursday, July 31, 2008

Singapore 2: The Mosque and the Church

The second day in Singapore, we should start with the farthest trip to the northern part, where we continued our journey towards the southern part of MRT railways. The day started from Sembawang MRT, where the award winning Forum's Asy-Syafaah Mosque (a.k.a Malay mosque, since the locals had a hardtime of recognizing this place we were asking:) is located. The night earlier, a friend of us suggested to have approx.400m walk to the mosque from the MRT station, but in fact it felt like we walked 2km across public housings and open meadow in one hot sunny day!

At 10 am, we finally reached the mosque which was easy to find from the housing complex 400m away, since it is located on an open field (not yet to be developed to housing?). Over sweat and heavy breathing, we were surprised by the look of the mosque that was so complex and detailed, as if it was eager to speak out or state something so definitely on such calm and vast open area. Is it the heat, or are we just having difficulty on comprehend such humble facility that suddenly shout their mind?

Our schedule that day was to visit some award winning buildings in Singapore, including the Asy-Syafaah mosque earlier in the morning. After detouring to Republic Polytechnic for about 3 hours, we continued our visit to the church St.Mary of the Angels designed by WOHA, where we found a very interesting sense of space, particularly for a religious building.

Arriving on a bus shelter next to the church that we almost missed, we realized that this side entrance through the slope hill was somehow blocking the presence of the church from the streets, thus made it enclosed to the possibly heavy traffic or crowd from the streets. It was early afternoon when the sunlight passed through the trees and exposing the dimension of the textured walls, as well as creating enough shadow from the canopy where we entered. Unlike the mosque, silence and 'peace' suddenly grasped us, made us quiet (for some time at least) while enjoying its architecture. It has a courtyard with circular reflecting pond that actually reflected the sunlight onto the large overhang above, creating a dynamic circular watery shadow as the only moving object around this silent space.

After taking some pictures and experiencing the corridors, the naturally golden lit room, the main hall, the garden etc., we finally checked the main entrance of the building, which was actually across the side entrance we came from. It was also elevated from the main road, and one of the most intersting part here was the placements of the mass and details that created cross-shaped composition for every visitor to notice. This church is definitely well detailed, but somehow it maintained its unique presence enclosed yet humble to its surrounding, thus made it more interesting for people to communicate to the Almighty, as well as to others.

1 comment:

designer said...

fyi, in Spore, muslim = malay people.
so if u asked for mosque direction to the locals (who's not malay) then u probably wont be going anywhere.
Btw hv u visit Masjid Sultan as well?